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boxing

Margarito–Cotto II Will Indeed Take Place at the Garden

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20:  Professional boxers Miguel Cotto (L) and Antonio Margarito pose for the media after a press conference at the Edison Ballroom on September 20, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito at a press conference in September.

Back in 2008, Antonio Margarito handed Miguel Cotto his first professional loss in a fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This summer, it was announced that a rematch would take place at Madison Square Garden on December 3. But until yesterday, the status of that fight — specifically, whether that fight would take place in New York as scheduled — was still in doubt.

Margarito, you see, had suffered an eye injury during a loss to Manny Pacquiao last year, and last week, the New York State Athletic Commission ordered him to undergo an eye test before it would decide whether or not to issue him a license to box in the state. In the meantime, reports had surfaced that Top Rank Boxing promotions had come up with a short list of alternative sites, in case the fight couldn't happen as planned in New York. (Among the sites reportedly on the list: the Pepsi Center in Denver and Cowboys Stadium.)

Then yesterday brought another twist, when Cotto said on a conference call that he wouldn't fight at all if it didn't happen in New York. Via ESPN:

Cotto, who would have massive backing from what will be a sellout crowd filled mostly with his Puerto Rican fans, reiterated his stance:

"When I signed for this fight with the company [Top Rank] and Margarito, the fight was to be in New York City and that's where the fight should be. It's not a question of giving [Margarito] an advantage [if it is somewhere else]. I signed to fight in New York City and that's where it should be."

At that point, [promoter Bob] Arum was clearly agitated and immediately ordered publicist Fred Sternburg to end the call. Then the line went dead.

It's all moot now, though: Margarito has been granted a boxing license by the NYSAC, after a medical exam determined he is healthy enough to fight. So December 3 at the Garden it is. For sure, now.

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Photo: Patrick McDermott/2011 Getty Images